Camera Austria International

140 | 2017

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  • SHVETA SARDA
    Raqs Media Collective: A Miscellany of Manifest Texts and Latent Images: Notes and Entries in Accompaniment to the Near Past of a Practice
  • RAQS MEDIA COLLECTIVE
  • YASMINE EID-SABBAGH
    Miki Kratsman: Re-Establishing Citizenry
  • MIKI KRATSMAN
  • ESTELLE BLASCHKE
    Armin Linke: Panoply of Possibilities
  • ARMIN LINKE

Preface

“There are people who want the past to be repeated, so they ensure that we cannot remember it,” as Priya Basil notes in Lettre International No. 118, citing Paul Krugman. I can hardly imagine a more apt description of the consolidation of reactionary political powers, now playing out in Austria as well, on the heels of the most recent national parliamentary elections. Such politics are increasingly moving towards a sealed-off, ethnically pure dream present that reflects the past, with its force rooted in the repression of memory of the region called Europe—constantly in flux, immersed in change, social blending, dissolution, and reinvention. The prosperity-driven fear of loss, the angst about an Other who, though essentially unknown, is considered to threaten an identity that never existed. How should we react to fake politics that only governs through regulatory tightening under the guise of media campaigns, Twitter, and selfies?

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Camera Austria International 140 | 2017
Preface

“There are people who want the past to be repeated, so they ensure that we cannot remember it,” as Priya Basil notes in Lettre International No. 118, citing Paul Krugman. I can hardly imagine a more apt description of the consolidation of reactionary political powers, now playing out in Austria as well, on the heels of the most recent national parliamentary elections. Such politics are increasingly moving towards a sealed-off, ethnically pure dream present that reflects the past, with its force rooted in the repression of memory of the region called Europe—constantly in flux, immersed in change, social blending, dissolution, and reinvention. The prosperity-driven fear of loss, the angst about an Other who, though essentially unknown, is considered to threaten an identity that never existed. How should we react to fake politics that only governs through regulatory tightening under the guise of media campaigns, Twitter, and selfies? Should we—an admittedly hegemonic term for an utterly diversified landscape of cultural producers—be constantly reminding ourselves that our agendas of recent decades have been trying to counter precisely this development? Which instituting and institutionalizing processes have we lifted off the ground in this respect, which are presently being brought to the limits of their viability by financial responsibitilies and political pressure yet again? And—perhaps only as a sideshow—what significance will the strong criticism of documenta 14 have for the framework conditions necessary to negotiate these questions in the future on the level of large-scale cultural events—or not? What latitude will we have in the coming years to prepare spaces in which questions related to the common good, community, to opportunities for critique, to the all-decisive notion that everything could be different, can even still be posed?

It doesn’t correspond to our self-conception of collaboration with artists to pass along, vicariously for the responsibility of Camera Austria as an institution, these questions to the artists, to avail oneself of the criticality of art production in order to, in one’s own favour, make a claim to a—dubious—state of resistance. It is for this reason that, for the first time in many years, we are not elaborating on or trying to convey, in this editorial, the special meaning or political relevance of the artistic positions introduced in this issue. We believe that the main thrust is evident through their respective contributions. Yet in which societal space will these contributions land today when, as Benjamin Buchloh established in his obituary for Allan Sekula published in Artforum, total depolitization appears to be the precondition of cultural recognition?

In recent years, we have touched on the relationship between art/photographic practices and politics again and again—all the while fearing that we were trying the patience of our readers. Not too long ago, for example, Tom Holert identified the political potential of art precisely in an “incongruence between art and politics”. “A decisive task of art lies in the tangency that elicits a modification of the way in which the possibilities for action, for intervening in certain regimes, might be imagined. Such an effect eludes commensurability. It points to moments of the political situated at the dawn of change, moments whose connection to art is never obvious and always questionable. Yet undeniable all the same.” (Camera Austria International No. 129 / 2015). But where are such beginnings evident, considering the indisputable acts of revisionism that have been in the process of dismantling the political, societal, social, feminist (et cetera) projects since 1968?

In the year 2000, the Graz-born artist Jörg Schlick designed for us the “Black Issue”, Camera Austria International No. 69, as a reaction to the coalition governing Austria comprised of the People’s Party (ÖVP) and the Freedom Party (FPÖ): a black cover, all in-between pages printed fully in black on the different kinds of paper typically used at that time. Aside from the imprint, the only text printed in the issue was “ÖSTERREICH 2000” on each right page. An insert was included featuring a letter by the publisher Manfred Willmann and the editor-in-chief Christine Frisinghelli, which, in the name of the editorial team, addressed the fragile autonomy of artistic expression and the contested position from which one may speak. The cover of the present issue, No. 140, literally looks back on this former cover, takes a closer look, and attempts to resurvey it and circulate it once again, while also establishing its topicality today. Published in the three subsequent issues of the same year (Nos. 70, 71, and 72) were reactions, statements, letters, and artistic contributions that responded both to the magazine and to the political situation at the time. For example, the team of the photographic department at the Stadtmuseum Münster wrote: “We support your consistent political stance. And we also hope in the future to have you express your clear political opinion about the political situation in Europe.” Have we met this challenge in the years since? A local FPÖ councilwoman remarked at the time: “Even if the colour black [an allusion to the colour of the party ÖVP] may have a certain allure for you, Mr City Councillor [Helmut Strobl, ÖVP], I would still beg to ask: Would you benefit from grant funds of the City of Graz being used to publish printed works like the most recent issue of Camera Austria?” Now, the City of Graz did not reduce their support back then, but in the last few years funding certainly has been curtailed.

Most recently, the Forum Stadtpark in Graz—the starting point for the Camera Austria endeavour—came to be wrongly associated with property damage in the city due to a related conference on civil disobedience: political pressure is increasingly being exerted on cultural institutions that challenge the status quo, the forgetting of history, in order to facilitate its return (as farce?). This might be dismissed as local incidents, but the shift in political rhetoric of the last seventeen years tells a different tale—from “fair labour policy”, °“social tourism”, “defining culture”, “mendacious press”, or “upper limit” and “foreign infiltration” to “do-gooder”, let alone the unspeakable and largely unsanctioned statements made in Germany by the party Alternative for Germany (AfD).

And that which was once cultural policy has not remained untouched by such developments. Therefore, in this foreword, we call upon you to give your full attention and assistance to art and cultural initiatives in your immediate vicinity. They are especially deserving of such support in view of the shifting political hold on their deviant, marginal, minority, abstruse, idiosyncratic, autonomist, and possibly even hardly conveyable themes, formats, and content—otherwise, they might well disappear altogether.

Reinhard Braun
and the Camera Austria-Team
December 2017

Cover: Camera Austria International No. 69 / 2000.

Entries

Forum

Presented by the editors:
Christina Werner
Dieter De Lathauwer
Carmen Catuti
Eva O’Leary
Alexandra Lethbridge
Verena Winkelmann

Exhibitions

Warsaw Gallery Weekend
Various venues
JAKUB MAJMUREK

G. R. A. M.: Der Regenschirm, die Schaufeln und der koreanische Tanz
Fotohof Salzburg
BRIGITTE KOVACS

Wolfgang Tillmans’ Plakate zur deutschen Bundestagswahl
RAIMAR STANGE

War of Pictures 1945 – 1955. Pressefotografie und Bildkultur im befreiten/besetzten Österreich
Conference at the University of Vienna
SABINE WEIER

Where Are We Now? Retrospective views, presentiments & departures into the unknown. steirischer herbst 2017
Various venues
MARGIT NEUHOLD

Hildegarde Duane: Western Woman
Künstlerhaus Stuttgart
MARIE HIMMERICH

Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon
New Museum, New York
LARA ATALLAH

Stealing from the West – Cultural Appropriation as Postcolonial Retaliation
Pluriversale VII, Cologne
JENS MAIER-ROTHE

Christoph Draeger und Heidrun Holzfeind: From Without And From Within [The Auroville Project]
Tiroler Künstler*schaft – Kunstpavillon, Innsbruck
CHRISTINA TÖPFER

Farewell Photography. Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie
Heidelberg, Ludwigshafen, Mannheim, various venues
MAREN LÜBBKE-TIDOW

Jan Groover
GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst Bremen
ANDREAS PRINZING

Stefan Burger
Kunsthalle Bern
JÖRG SCHELLER

Sascha Weidner: It’s all connected somehow. Nachlasssichtung I
Sprengel Museum Hannover
MORITZ SCHEPER

The Still Point of the Turning World. Between Film and Photography
FOMU Antwerpen, Antwerp
TACO HIDDE BAKKER

Agnès Geoffray: Before the Eye Lid’s Laid
Centre photographique d’Ile de France, Pontault-Combault,
MICHÈLE COHEN HADRIA

Books

Reportagen, historisch-kritisch editiert
Richard Whelan: This is War! Robert Capa at Work
International Center of Photography, New York; Steidl, Göttingen 
Gordon Parks: A Harlem Family 1967
The Studio Museum in Harlem; The Gordon Parks Foundation, New York; Steidl, Göttingen
David Campany: Walker Evans. The Magazine Work
Steidl, Göttingen
JAN WENZEL

Pía Elizondo: The Fall
Self-published, Paris 2017
MIRIAM ROSEN

Carlos Spottorno und Guillermo Abril: Der Riss
avant-verlag, Berlin 2017
SOPHIA GREIFF

Katharina Sykora, Kristin Schrader, Dietmar Kohler, Natascha Pohlmann, Daniel Bühler (Hg.): Das fotografische Dispositiv. Valenzen fotografischen Zeigens
Kromsdorf/Weimar: Jonas Verlag
GISLIND NABAKOWSKI

Abigail Solomon-Godeau: Photography after Photography. Gender, Genre, History
Duke University Press, Durham
WENDY VOGEL

Herta Wolf: Zeigen und / oder beweisen? Die Fotografie als Kulturtechnik und Medium des Wissens
de Gruyter, Berlin
PAUL MELLENTHIN

ÖsterreichBilder – Facing Austria
Fotohof edition, Salzburg
ULRIKE MATZER

Martine Stig: Noir
Fw:Books, Amsterdam 2016
ORIT GAT

Oliver Decker, Frank Berger, Falk Haberkorn: Vom KZ zum Eigenheim. Bilder einer Mustersiedlung
zuKlampen, Springe
SUSANNE HOLSCHBACH

Imprint

Publisher: Reinhard Braun

Owner: Verein CAMERA AUSTRIA. Labor für Fotografie und Theorie.
Lendkai 1, 8020 Graz, Österreich

Editors: Margit Neuhold, Christina Töpfer, Sabine Weier.

Translations: Dawn Michelle d’Atri, Nicholas Huckle, Amy Klement, Wilfried Prantner.

English proofreading: Dawn Michelle d’Atri.

Acknowledgments: Estelle Blaschke, Carmen Catuti, Dieter De Lathauwer, Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh, Susanne Gamauf, Vassiliki Gortsas, Ferial Karrasch, Hannes Klug, Zoran Koletic, Miki Kratsman, Eva O’Leary, Alexandra Lethbridge, Armin Linke, Sonia May, Yasmin Meinicke, Megan Mulry, Klaus Nellen, Raqs Media Collective, Shveta Sarda, J. Emil Senne-wald, Maren Lübbke-Tidow, Franziska von Plocki, Barbara Wais, Christina Werner, Verena Winkelmann.

Copyright © 2017
No parts of this magazine may be reproduced without publisher’s permission.
Camera Austria International does not assume any responsibility for submitted texts and original materials.

ISBN 978-3-902911-38-4
ISSN 1015 1915
GTIN 4 19 23106 1600 5 00140